Thursday, July 27, 2017

Scraps Are Love {Guest Post}

Hi folks, I'm thrilled to have a guest post for you this week from Louise about the special value of scraps, especially for charity quilts.  I hope you'll read and enjoy!


Hello! My name is Louise and I blog over at Quilt Odyssey. Kat asked me to write a guest post while she is away for the summer.

I'm a fairly new quilter, having only taken up the hobby about three years ago. I had no fabric stash at all, and started by buying a few fat quarter bundles. Of course, I had no scraps. After making my first lap quilt, a blue and yellow floral and butterfly design for my Mom, I actually threw away the scraps. Why would I need to save those small pieces? It was several months before I started reading quilt blogs and discovered that entire quilts could be made from what I casually tossed in the garbage can. I still regret that little pile that ended up in the landfill.

I bought more bundles and made more quilts, and started saving my scraps. The very first thing I made with them was a Covered In Love block, my first collaborative "bee" creation. It was fun to make, and I felt good about contributing to such a good cause, but mostly it was just satisfying to get rid of a few scraps.

Meanwhile, I was still making quilts for friends and family from brand new fabric, carefully shopping for just the right colors and motifs that I hoped they would love. I'm particularly fond of using novelty fabrics to capture someone's interests: a beer-themed quilt for a cousin, sweet doggy faces for a friend's granddaughter, fun scooters for my husband. And I discovered the love and joy that comes with sewing gifts, the meditative time watching the fabrics pass under the presser foot, while thinking, "Oh, she's going to love these beautiful yellow flowers!"



But my scraps? They were just sort of extra bonus fabric available to try some new blocks, and often ended up in Kat's hands. Then one day, I had an epiphany when Kat wrote this:
I checked in today with one of the chaplains who delivers these quilts and he said, "This is a wonderful, powerful gift. [I] placed the Route 66 quilt on a bed Tuesday and the family cried and cried.  He had lived for many years in Amarillo and it was on the quilt! It was perfect!"
Kat had sewn a quilt using scrap/remnant Route 66 fabric, and it ended up in the hands of just the right family. In their grief, they connected so emotionally to that memory of their loved one. And that's not the only time a personal connection has been made through these quilts. The wide variety of colors and themes, sewn out of our scraps, has produced Just The Right Quilt for many, many grieving families.



Each time we select a fabric for our own loved ones, we open up the possibility that it is also the perfect fabric for a stranger in need. Your aunt loves purple? So does another aunt. Tiny butterflies on a 2"x2" scrap? That will certainly be found by the family of another butterfly fan as they sit by a hospital bedside. After all, we humans long for connection, for meaning, especially at times of sickness, grief, and loss.

Scraps now have been elevated in my stash to much higher status. They are the basis for the very best charity quilts. I believe that scrappy quilts provide extra visual and emotional interest at a time when people are searching for meaning and comfort. I'm deeply moved by the chaplains' stories about how the families often find a special connection hidden in their quilt. So I try to make my own donations full of little glimpses of flowers and birds and scooters and Snoopy and music and much more. Maybe something will resonate, providing a bit of light and love during a dark time.



By passing along the fabric that we filled with love the first time around, we do so much more than make efficient use of our stash. We touch our common humanity. And by combining my scraps with yours, we create something larger than each of us. Did you know that Kat puts a special label on the back of each Covered in Love quilt? She writes the names of each of us that has contributed a block, the backing, the quilting, the binding. Some of the labels have a dozen names, a whole cadre of loving strangers who have stitched in solitude to make together something that quite literally covers a family with love. Powerful stuff from scraps of fabric.



So as you sew donation blocks or quilts, use your scraps with pride. Tap into the joy and love as the fabric passes through your machine and your fingers. Think to yourself, "Oh, she's going to love these beautiful yellow flowers!" even if you've never met her and never will. Your scraps are destined for greatness.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sew Some Love Linky

Welcome to the Sew Some Love linkup!  Please link-up any post about a project you're sewing for charity.


I've been a part of the NURTURE circle of do. Good Stitches since 2013.  We used to donate quilts to My Very Own Blanket and then, after a group vote a couple years ago, switched to supporting Covered in Love.  I have really loved being a part of this circle and I'd encourage anyone who is interested to apply to join a circle.

NURTURE circle quilts
Usually in my travels I manage to either borrow a sewing machine or get my blocks done early. It didn't work out this time, so two block angels stepped in to make my June and July blocks.  One of my local quilter friends, Tricia, and Louise who I told you about a few weeks ago each made two blocks on my behalf. Thank YOU ladies!!


do. Good Stitches is a great organization that supports tons of charities.  You can sign up to be a stitcher or a quilter. A quilter takes their turn twice a year to choose the block the group makes and finish off the quilt, the rest of the time they just make 2 blocks per month and send them to whoever is the quilter. Stitchers always just make their two blocks a month and never have to take a turn as quilter, so it's a little bit easier of a commitment.  If you've ever considered joining a circle, do! It's a ton of fun!




Some Quilt Charities:
Books and a Blanket - quilts for needy children in central Texas, promoting literacy
Covered in Love - quilts for mourning families
Kennel Quilts - small quilts for animals in need
Margaret's Hope Chest - several programs for children and adults
My Very Own Blanket - quilts for children in foster care
Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project - quilts auctioned to raise money for cancer research
Project Linus - quilts for children in the hospital
Quilts Beyond Borders -  quilts for poor children around the world
Quilts for Kids - quilts for abused and ill children
Quilts of Valor - quilts for veterans
Threading Hope - children and families in poverty and war torn countries
Victoria's Quilts - quilts for cancer patients
Wrap-a-Smile - quilts for children treated for cleft palate on medical missions
Wrap Them in Love - quilts for children

If you know of any that need added to the list let me know!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Shibori Dyeing Experiments

I've been away from my sewing machine, except for one week, since mid-May.  I'm getting itchy fingers to say the least!  Last week I decided it was time to do some therapeutic crafting and hit up Walmart for some white onesies, dye and thread.


I've been wanting to experiment with the Shibori thread resist technique, called Nui Shibori, for a long time. I wasn't sure it would work well on fabric with such an open weave since it's usually done on fabrics with a very tight weave similar to what is used for batiking.


Happily, as you can see, it worked well! I drew the designs first in washable marker and then stitched over them.  The pic above is of the jellyfish onesie.  After stitching you draw the threads up tight and tie them (like cinching the rubber bands in regular tie dye.


For this one, with the "tentacle" looking stripes I sewed through the front and back layers at the same time.


I really liked this "fish scales" one with a faded dye technique. I just clipped the onesie to the side of my dye bath and lowered it further in every ten minutes until it was done.


The tentacle-looking stitch pattern inspired this onesie called "Octo-hug" or "An Octopus Ate My Baby!"  Can you see the octopus on the back wrapping his tentacles around? 

Front of "Octo-hug"
I learned a lot from making this one and I will definitely do another version, which will hopefully come out even better.


There is at least an hour of stitching and tying in even the relatively simple designs so I am working on these slowly and doing small dye batches of about three at a time.  This week I'm going to pick up a new dye color and hopefully find a bottle of Retayne to help set the dye.  Can't wait to gift these soon!


The new Covered in Love block drive just began and it's a red, white, and blue star free-for-all.  This drive will run until the end of August if you want to help out.  We gift quilts to the family member of patients dying in the hospital. More info here



Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Listening to... OK GO (those guys with the killer music videos)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Sew Some Love Linky

Welcome to the Sew Some Love linkup!  Please link-up any post about a project you're sewing for charity.



There are a lot of people who are helping to keep CiL running while I'm away from my sewing machine this summer.  Quilters like Cynthia, Judy, Meloney, and Kathy are my angels. Because of them quilts are continuing to be finished over this summer and the pile of tops and blocks that greets me when I get home should be manageable.

Santa Fe sunset
And of course there are too many of you to mention by name who are sending in blocks, tops and other goodies so that CiL can continue to run smoothly! Thank you!




Some Quilt Charities:
Books and a Blanket - quilts for needy children in central Texas, promoting literacy
Covered in Love - quilts for mourning families
Kennel Quilts - small quilts for animals in need
Margaret's Hope Chest - several programs for children and adults
My Very Own Blanket - quilts for children in foster care
Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project - quilts auctioned to raise money for cancer research
Project Linus - quilts for children in the hospital
Quilts Beyond Borders -  quilts for poor children around the world
Quilts for Kids - quilts for abused and ill children
Quilts of Valor - quilts for veterans
Threading Hope - children and families in poverty and war torn countries
Victoria's Quilts - quilts for cancer patients
Wrap-a-Smile - quilts for children treated for cleft palate on medical missions
Wrap Them in Love - quilts for children

If you know of any that need added to the list let me know!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Spring Greens

Spring Greens is what I'm calling this quilt. No, it's not spring. I wish it was!  It's summer and hot as blazes. This pretty green top that Jannette sent in for Covered in Love just screams Spring though, don't you think?  This one was also quilted by Meloney on her long arm.



I received a lovely thank you email from a family member of a Covered in Love quilt recipient today that I want to share with you.


"You truly touched my family's heart through CIL. My mom was critically ill in the ICU when she received a beautiful quit. This quilt was with her until she passed and now it sits in her favorite chair at our home in our living room."

 Thank you to every single person who has contributed to CiL. These thanks belong to all of you!


In the photo above you can see the design Meloney used, daisies in swirling lines.  I really like this design and think it compliments the quilt top really well.  This quilt has already been taken up to the hospital for Covered in Love, it was part of the last donation that put us up over 200 quilts. Yes 200! I'm planning a proper celebration this Fall for that milestone.


I had the perfect backing for this top, bought on sale some time ago, and finally found its home!  I really like how this design looks fairly complicated when it's just a simple alternating grid of two blocks (and one of them isn't even a pieced block). (ETA: Jannette says it's a Project Linus pattern called Warm Wishes and you can find it HERE.)


Finished, photographed, folded and ready for delivery :) Thank you Jannette and Meloney!


The new Covered in Love block drive just began and it's a red, white, and blue star free-for-all.  This drive will run until the end of August if you want to help out.  More info here



Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Listening to... Celtic Thunder singing about "all God's creatures"

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sew Some Love Linky

Welcome to the Sew Some Love linkup!  Please link-up any post about a project you're sewing for charity.


I've been away from my sewing machine for a couple month's now, so I'm running low on quilt-content (not to mention getting itchy fingers!)  The photo below is from my whirlwind trip to San Diego in June.


Since I'm not sewing anything I'd like to direct you toward a favorite blogger of mine who sews a TON for charity. Louise lives on a boat (currently off the Gulf of Mexico) which makes her automatically cool, in my opinion.  Despite small spaces and occasional high seas she is a devoted quilter for not only Covered in Love, but also Project Linus, Hands 2 Help, and more.  If you are unfamiliar with her, go check out her blog and consider following!


Covered in Love has been so blessed by donations from quilters, I want you all to see what each other have going on!  For purposes of the linky, I'm going to define "charity" really generally.  If you're sewing a quilt for you co-worker's mom with cancer or your friend's uncle who lost his home, that totally counts!  Anything you're sewing out of the goodness of your heart for someone outside you immediate circle of family and friends. 




Some Quilt Charities:
Books and a Blanket - quilts for needy children in central Texas, promoting literacy
Covered in Love - quilts for mourning families
Kennel Quilts - small quilts for animals in need
Margaret's Hope Chest - several programs for children and adults
My Very Own Blanket - quilts for children in foster care
Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project - quilts auctioned to raise money for cancer research
Project Linus - quilts for children in the hospital
Quilts Beyond Borders -  quilts for poor children around the world
Quilts for Kids - quilts for abused and ill children
Quilts of Valor - quilts for veterans
Threading Hope - children and families in poverty and war torn countries
Victoria's Quilts - quilts for cancer patients
Wrap-a-Smile - quilts for children treated for cleft palate on medical missions
Wrap Them in Love - quilts for children

If you know of any that need added to the list let me know!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Christmas in July

Happy Friday! I hope everyone's 4th of July went well and you saw some nice fireworks.  This week's quilt is a subtly holiday themed one for Covered in Love. This is another top made by Jannette from Canada and quilted by a Texan longarmer, Meloney.  Thanks ladies!


Of course this quilt doesn't have to be Christmas themed, but the colors do lend themselves well.  Christmas is only 6 months away now!  (If your looking for some Christmas quilting-gift-guidance and encouragement check out the Christmas in July blog hop.)


Meloney did beautiful quilting of wavy lines interspersed with stars that really bring a nice texture to the quilt.


I love how simple and striking Jannette's interlocking pinwheel design is.  This quilt is in the stack for the next CiL delivery to the hospital where it will comfort a grieving family. Thank you to Jannette, Meloney, and everyone else who keeps CiL running!
 

The new Covered in Love block drive just began and it's a red, white, and blue star free-for-all.  This drive will run until the end of August if you want to help out.  More info here



Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Listening to... Christmas music, of course :)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Sew Some Love Linky

Welcome to the Sew Some Love linkup!  Please link-up any post about a project you're sewing for charity.


I mentioned last week that I have been traveling quite a bit this summer, so I'm running out of quilt-related content for the blog. I was in Illinois during May visiting friends and made a couple of these shrinky-dink safety bracelets. They aren't quilt-y and it might be a stretch to call it charity, but I thought some of you might find it useful.


Shrinky-dink is a plastic that shrinks and thickens when you put it in the oven, so I first wrote Amrei's name and her parent's phone numbers and drew a couple of flower designs in sharpie. Then immediately after baking and shrinking I bent it around a drinking glass to make a curved shape to fit her wrist.  I sealed it with Dimensional Magic and attached a chain with pliers so it does not come off.


She's been wearing it for over a month and it still looks good and seems well attached!  She likes it and it's prettier than a usual medic alert bracelet.

Covered in Love has been so blessed by donations from quilters, I want you all to see what each other have going on!  For purposes of the linky, I'm going to define "charity" really generally.  If you're sewing a quilt for you co-worker's mom with cancer or your friend's uncle who lost his home, that totally counts!  Anything you're sewing out of the goodness of your heart for someone outside you immediate circle of family and friends. 




Some Quilt Charities:
Books and a Blanket - quilts for needy children in central Texas, promoting literacy
Covered in Love - quilts for mourning families
Kennel Quilts - small quilts for animals in need
Margaret's Hope Chest - several programs for children and adults
My Very Own Blanket - quilts for children in foster care
Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project - quilts auctioned to raise money for cancer research
Project Linus - quilts for children in the hospital
Quilts Beyond Borders -  quilts for poor children around the world
Quilts for Kids - quilts for abused and ill children
Quilts of Valor - quilts for veterans
Threading Hope - children and families in poverty and war torn countries
Victoria's Quilts - quilts for cancer patients
Wrap-a-Smile - quilts for children treated for cleft palate on medical missions
Wrap Them in Love - quilts for children

If you know of any that need added to the list let me know!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

A Starry Autumn Sky

This beautiful star quilt is a tag team effort by Teri from Texas, who pieced it, and Judy from Arizona who quilted it.


You might remember Judy and Teri's previous collaborations from here.  I adore these fall-colored stars with the pretty blue.  The neutrals and oranges are scrappy but Teri used the same blue through out the top.


This is a generously sized quilt.  I can't remember exactly, but it seems like it was in the 60+" x 70+" range.  Judy custom quilted it to accentuate the precise piecing.


This beautiful quilt will go to a family mourning a loved one through Covered in Love.  Covered in Love is nearing 200 quilts given to grieving families, thanks to the support of quilters like Judy and Teri!


The new Covered in Love block drive just began and fittingly it's stars as well! This one will run until the end of August if you want to help out.  More info here



Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Listening to... the KONGOS.

"Oh my Stars!" CiL Block Drive

Welcome Quilters to Covered in Love's July/August block drive!  Covered in Love makes quilts for patients who pass away in the hospital which the families can take home as a memento.  One big way we do that is through these bi-monthly block drives.  Anyone is invited to participate and make as many blocks as you like!


This will be another throwback quilt drive. We're repeating last summer's popular "red, white, and blue stars" theme. Families love these patriotic quilts!  The original post is HERE, but to sum up:
      1. 12.5" (unfinished) blocks
      2. red, white, and/or blue
      3. any pattern you would call a "star"
You can take a look at last year's finished quilt for inspiration here, here, and here.  You can also find links to a lot of patterns on last year's block drive page here.  As you can see, there's plenty of room to be creative. You can make a smaller star floating in a 12.5" block or make a single block with several small stars in it.  


Paper pieced, scrappy, wonky, modern or traditional, all stars are welcome!

I am so grateful to Cynthia for helping out by hosting last month's block drive. This time we're going back to me, so if you have two addresses for CiL now ship your blocks to Texas! If you would like to participate in the block drive please leave a comment below (make sure I can contact you) or email CoveredinLoveTx@gmail.com for the address to ship blocks.  This block drive will run through the end of August.


To see finished quilts from previous block drives click here.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Sew Some Love Linky

Welcome to the Sew Some Love linkup!  Please link-up any post about a project you're sewing for charity.


I'm doing some traveling again this summer and posting a lot of content to the blog that was finished earlier.  I came across this photo today from a few weeks ago of Rory holding down a pile of quilts awaiting binding. No quilts escaping on her watch!


If you don't read Cynthia's blog at "Quilting is More Fun Than Housework" definitely head over there and check out the progress she has made on the current block drive. She is doing a beautiful job putting together your blocks! The May/June block drive is almost wrapped up and the new one will launch Thursday night, so be on the lookout for that post!


Covered in Love has been so blessed by donations from quilters, I want you all to see what each other have going on!  For purposes of the linky, I'm going to define "charity" really generally.  If you're sewing a quilt for you co-worker's mom with cancer or your friend's uncle who lost his home, that totally counts!  Anything you're sewing out of the goodness of your heart for someone outside you immediate circle of family and friends. 




Some Quilt Charities:
Books and a Blanket - quilts for needy children in central Texas, promoting literacy
Covered in Love - quilts for mourning families
Kennel Quilts - small quilts for animals in need
Margaret's Hope Chest - several programs for children and adults
My Very Own Blanket - quilts for children in foster care
Ovarian Cancer Quilt Project - quilts auctioned to raise money for cancer research
Project Linus - quilts for children in the hospital
Quilts Beyond Borders -  quilts for poor children around the world
Quilts for Kids - quilts for abused and ill children
Quilts of Valor - quilts for veterans
Threading Hope - children and families in poverty and war torn countries
Victoria's Quilts - quilts for cancer patients
Wrap-a-Smile - quilts for children treated for cleft palate on medical missions
Wrap Them in Love - quilts for children

If you know of any that need added to the list let me know!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

3D Geese, Fly Home

This is a super cool quilt, y'all.  Jannette from Canada sent in 4 tops, including this one, for me to finish for Covered in Love.  This one has a really neat 3D flying geese technique.  You can see some more close up pictures of how the geese work here.


This is such a sweet, soft quilt. I stippled it all over, avoiding running over the geese (mostly. There was so me unstitching that had to be done a couple times...)


The colors are not quite as washed out and soft as the pics make them look. I adjusted the colors on the one below to give a truer representation.  I wish I'd gotten a close up of that pink fabrics. It was so sweet, with little puff-ball flowers on it.



This is also a generously sized quilt, which is always nice. I'm sure it will be truly treasured by a family who needs it.


I love this design! It's essentially a rail fence block with 4 "rails" in each, 2 of them being the geese.  Thank you Jannette for sharing this quilt with CiL!


The current Covered in Love block drive is going on until the end of June if you want to help out.  More info here



Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Listening to... this very talented violinist covering pop music.